Thank You to Scribner for providing me with an advanced copy of Kevin Hazzard's memoir, A Thousand Naked Strangers, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT - Shortly after September 11th, Kevin Hazzard felt like something was missing from his life and he decided to become a paramedic. Hazzard gives a gritty and full-on account of working as a paramedic in the seedy, dangerous streets of Atlanta, Georgia.
LIKE- Hazzard doesn't hold back and his memoir is not for the squeamish. There are plenty of stories involving blood, guts and brain bits. I found it utterly fascinating. It's also a horror show. A Thousand Naked Strangers had my imagination working overtime, with not only the various ways that a person can meet their demise ( or become hideously mangled and survive), but also Hazzard's reveal of the types of people who become paramedics and their training.
With the way that he describes many of his coworkers, he doesn't inspire much confidence in the profession. Even though it's worrisome, this aspect of the memoir is also fascinating. I always thought of paramedics as nobel medical professionals and although that may be the case for many paramedics, Hazzard reveals working with several disaffected and incompetent employees, who exist within a broken system and are heading towards a quick career burn-out. A system where undertrained and low-paid paramedics are making split-second decisions that can kill or save lives. Scary stuff.
Ultimately, Hazzard won me over with his confession that he became a paramedic because it was "fun". It's a thrill ride, where he trades pay, vacations and personal safety, for the opportunity to not only save lives, but for the unexpected. Hazzard shares incredible stories with unforgettable characters.
DISLIKE- The only negative is the horrible imagery that has been stuck in my mind. One story had a guy getting his toes chopped off with a lawn mower and another, a guy who stapled himself to a wall. Yikes! These are just a few examples. Your imagination will go into overdrive, trust me.
RECOMMEND- If you can handle very gruesome death and accident stories, then absolutely pick up a copy of A Thousand Naked Strangers. I found Hazzard's memoir impossible to put down and highly engaging.